Penn State Abington has established its own honor society, Civitas Victus Dictio (CVD), to provide high-achieving students with a community of ideas.
Members are assigned readings before each meeting, where they discuss the topic over dinner with faculty. For the inaugural dinner, the 16 students read passages from John Henry Newman's 1852 book, "The Idea of A University," to inform their debate on the purpose of higher education.
The keynote speaker or Lar Fellow, Leonard Mustazza, said Newman endorsed the notion of the university as a conduit to explore ideas and meet diverse groups of people.
"You are intellectual explorers," Mustazza, distinguished professor of English and American Studies at Abington, told the CVD members.
Newman suggested that higher education should connect branches of knowledge so we can complete, correct, and balance each other, Mustazza said. One can then think, reason, analyze, and make good judgments in daily life and not just at work.